U.S. Sen. David Vitter, a member of the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee, met with General Mark Welsh, the nominee to be the next Air Force Chief of Staff. Vitter said he'll support confirmation of Welsh after securing commitments to keeping the Global Strike Command at Barksdale. He also secured commitments from Welsh to keep the A-10s and B-52's at Barksdale a priority, particularly in the case of impending defense cuts.
"I look forward to supporting General Welsh after meeting with him today," Vitter said. "I'm confident now that General Welsh recognizes Barksdale as an integral component of U.S. defense operations and the importance of keeping the Global Strike Command at the base. I'll be urging my colleagues to support him as well."
The Global Strike Command coordinates the Air Force's nuclear mission and is one of ten major commands of the U.S. Air Force. Barksdale currently is home to approximately 8000 Air Force personnel.
Vitter is a member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Armed Services, which has jurisdiction over the Air Force and Department of Defense. He also sits on the Subcommittee on Strategic Forces, which has jurisdiction over nuclear operations that will affect Global Strike Command.
During a recent committee markup in the Senate Armed Services of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013 Vitter successfully included a provision that has temporarily halted the proposed cuts to A-10s at Barksdale Air Force Base as well as support the future modernization of B-52 systems. Under the Air Force FY13 proposal, which Senator Vitter is working to prevent, Louisiana ranks third for the highest loss of Air Force Reservist and would lose the entire wing of its A-10's.